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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Section - Question 12.19: What does Judaism say about non-Jews and their role? What does G-d demands of gentiles to get to Olam Ha'aba ["The World-

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Top Document: soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Jewish Thought (6/12)
Previous Document: Question 12.18: Where can a Gentile learn about Judaism?
Next Document: Question 12.20: What do Jews believe about Good and Evil?
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         to-come"]? What are the Noachide laws?

   Traditionally, the Noachide Laws (see below) have defined
   righteousness for non-Jews.
    Background Information
   The Rabbis in Tractate Sanhedrin [57a] [derive from the Torah] the six
   broad categories of laws that G-d forbids all of humanity:
    1. Killing
    2. Stealing
    3. Committing Sexual Immorality
    4. Eating the flesh of a living animal
    5. Serving idols
    6. Blaspheming against G-d
   They also derived one positive category of laws:
    1. Establishing a system of legal justice
   This gives rise to the common expression of "seven" laws. According to
   the standard computation, these break down into 66 laws that non-Jews
   are obligated to observe. According to the Rambam, in order to merit
   the World to Come, non-Jews must observe these obligations
   specifically because they were commanded by G-d through the Torah (see
   Genesis 9). [References: R' Shlomo Riskin, R' Nathan Cardozo Torah,
   Masorah, and Man, and Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Melakhim 8:11]
   Must one comply with these laws? In Judaism, there is the notion of
   someone who is ketinok shenishba -- like a child who was taken captive
   and raised by highway robbers. Such a child couldn't be held
   accountable for growing up to be a criminal. As a general principle, a
   child raised in a home where some sin was considered normal and
   accepted behavior isn't held accountable by G-d, the One Who put him
   in that home for following along. Basically, G-d judges people by
   taking into account what He gave that person to work with. If it was
   harder for that person to realize that some behavior is wrong, then
   G-d will take that into account and judge accordingly.
   There is a relatively well-known story about R' Zushya, an early
   Chassidic master. He was on his deathbed, and a number of students
   were there to share with R' Zushye his final moments. R' Zushya let
   them know that he was scared, afraid of G-d's final justice. "I am not
   afraid that G-d will ask me, 'Zushya, why weren't you like Abraham?'
   'Zushya, why weren't you a Moses?' I can answer Him, 'But you didn't
   make me with the abilities of an Abraham or Moses.' But what if G-d
   asks, 'Zushya, why weren't you a Zushya?' What can I answer?"
   However, there are movements that encourage the following of the
   Noachide Laws. A common question on s.c.j is "What are these laws?".
   The following is a condensed version of a summary of the laws and
   categories put together by Shlomoh Sherman and posted by Moshe
    The Seven Noachide Categories
    1. Murder is forbidden: The life of a human being, formed in G-d's
       image, is sacred.
    2. Theft is forbidden. The world is not ours to do with as we please.
    3. Incestuous and adulterous relations are forbidden. Human beings
       are not sexual objects, nor is pleasure the ultimate goal of life.
    4. Eating the flesh of a living animal is forbidden. This teaches us
       to be sensitive to cruelty to animals. (This was commanded to Noah
       for the first time along with the permission of eating meat. The
       negative laws were enforced at the Garden of Eden.)
    5. Idolatry is forbidden: Man is commanded to believe in the One G-d
       alone and worship only G-d.
    6. Cursing the name of G-d is forbidden. Besides honoring and
       respecting G-d, we learn from this precept that our speech must be
       sanctified, as that is the distinctive sign that separated man
       from the animals.
    7. Mankind is commanded to establish courts of justice and a just
       social order. This is in order to enforce the first six laws and
       enact any other useful laws or customs.
    Specific References
   These categories are felt to be implicit in G-d's commandment to Adam
   and Eve in Genesis (Bereshis) 2:16-17:
    1. The following verse is a reference to the prohibition against
       murder. G-d explicitly commands Noah (Genesis 9:6), "If one sheds
       the blood of the man (HaAdam), by man shall his own blood be
    2. The following is an implicit reference to the prohibition against
       theft. It shows that permission is needed to take something that
       is not explicitly yours. "You shall not steal; you shall not deal
       deceitfully or falsely with one another" (Leviticus 19:11).
    3. The below verse refers to sexual misconduct or adultery, as the
       prophet Jeremiah (3:1) says, "Saying (laymor), if a man divorces
       his wife..."
    4. The following verse implies that there are things which may not be
       eaten (the limbs of a live animal): "You must not, however, eat
       flesh with its life- blood in it." (Genesis 9:4)
    5. The following verse is a reference to the prohibition against
       idolatry; for it says in Exodus 20:3, "You shall have no other
       gods before me."
    6. The following verse implies the prohibition against blasphemy. As
       it says in Leviticus 24:16, "He who blasphemes the name of the
       Lord (Hashem) shall die."
    7. What follows is a reference to laws of justice for it says in
       Genesis 18:19, "For I have known him so he will command (Yitzaveh)
       his children after him to keep the way of the Lord and
       righteousness and justice."
    Seven Turns Into Sixty-Six
   From this are derived the following 66 laws:
    1. MURDER: (1) against anyone murdering anyone.
    2. THEFT: (1) against stealing; (2) against committing robbery (3)
       against shifting a landmark; (4) against cheating; (5) against
       repudiating a claim of money owed; (6) against overcharging; (7)
       against coveting; (8) against desiring; (9) a laborer shall be
       allowed to eat of the fruits among which he works (under certain
       conditions); (10) against a laborer eating of such fruit (when
       certain conditions are not met); (11) against a laborer taking of
       such fruit home; (12) against kidnapping; (13) against the use of
       false weights and measures; (14) against the possession of false
       weights and measures; (15) that one shall be exact in the use of
       weights and measures; and (16) that the robber shall return (or
       pay for) the stolen object.
    3. ILLICIT INTERCOURSE: (1) against (a man) having union with his
       mother; (2) against (a man) having union with his sister; (3)
       against (a man) having union with the wife of his father; (4)
       against (a man) having union with another man's wife; (5) against
       (a man) copulating with a beast; (6) against a woman copulating
       with a beast; (7) against (a man) lying carnally with a male; (8)
       against (a man) lying carnally with his father; (9) against (a
       man) lying carnally with his father's brother; and (10) against
       engaging in erotic conduct that may lead to a prohibited union.
       [Note: There is some dispute as to what the correct wording it for
       (8) and (9), as it seems to be covered by (7). If the text is
       based on Lev. 18:8, the standard prohibition derived therefrom is
       covered in (3). Note that this is in the context of noachide
    4. LIMB OF A LIVING CREATURE: (1) against eating a limb severed from
       a living animal, beast, or fowl; and (2) against eating the flesh
       of any animal which was torn by a wild beast ... which, in part,
       prohibits the eating of such flesh as was torn off an animal while
       it was still alive.
    5. IDOLATRY: (1) against entertaining the thought that there exists a
       deity except the Lord; (2) against making any graven image (and
       against having anyone else make one for us); (3) against making
       idols for use by others; (4) against making any forbidden statues
       (even when they are for ornamental purposes); (5) against bowing
       to any idol (and not to sacrifice nor to pour libation nor to burn
       incense before any idol, even where it is not the customary manner
       of worship to the particular idol); (6) against worshipping idols
       in any of their customary manners of worship; (7) against causing
       our children to pass (through the fire) in the worship of Molech
       [Molech was the fire god of the Ammonites and Phoenicians to whom
       parents sacrificed their children]; (8) against practicing Ov; (9)
       against the practice of Yiddoni [Sorceror, Soothsayer, Magician];
       and (10) against turning to idolatry (in word, in thought, in
       deed, or by any observance that may draw us to its worship).
       [Editors Note: We need a translation/meaning for Ov.]
    6. BLASPHEMY: (1) to acknowledge the presence of G-d; (2) to fear
       G-d; (3) to pray to G-d; (4) to sanctify G-d's name (in face of
       death, where appropriate); (5) against desecrating G-d's name
       (even in face of death, when appropriate); (6) to study the Torah;
       (7) to honor the scholars, and to revere one's teacher; and (8)
       against blaspheming.
    7. JUSTICE: (1) to appoint judges and officers in each and every
       community; (2) to treat the litigants equally before the law; (3)
       to inquire diligently into the testimony of a witness; (4) against
       the wanton miscarriage of justice by the court; (5) against the
       judge accepting a bribe or gift from a litigant; (6) against the
       judge showing marks of honor to but one litigant; (7) against the
       judge acting in fear of a litigant's threats; (8) against the
       judge, out of compassion, favoring a poor litigant; (9) against
       the judge discriminating against the litigant because he is a
       sinner; (10) against the judge, out of softness, putting aside the
       penalty of a mauler or killer; (11) against the judge
       discriminating against a stranger or an orphan; (12) against the
       judge hearing one litigant in the absence of the other; (13)
       against appointing a judge who lacks knowledge of the Law; (14)
       against the court killing an innocent man; (15) against
       incrimination by circumstantial evidence; (16) against punishing
       for a crime committed under duress; (17) that the court is to
       administer the death penalty by the sword; (18) against anyone
       taking the law into his own hands to kill the perpetrator of a
       capital crime (this point is disagreed upon by different writers:
       "The Noahites are not restricted in this way but may judge singly
       and at once."); (19) to testify in court; and (20) against
       testifying falsely.
   The term "Noachide" describes groups, generally founded by rabbis, for
   the purpose of making non-Jews aware of their obligations according to
   Torah. These groups observe the commandments in the seven categories,
   and do not follow the tenets of non-Jewish religions.
   The following locations include B'nai Noach Groups or Organizations
   (United States):
         1. Noah's Covenant Noachide Ministry [1827 Ximeno Avenue, #237,
            Long Beach, California 90815. E-mail: [5]
            Website: [6]].
     * FLORIDA
         1. Ex-Christians For Moses Noahide Ministry [1000 West Oakland
            Park Boulevard, Suite 105, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311.
            E-mail: [7] Website:
     * GEORGIA
         1. Chavurath B'nai Noach of Atlanta, Georgia [3952 Garden
            Circle, Acworth, Georgia 30101. Phone & Fax (Local): (770)
            975-0225. Phone & Fax (International): (800) 929-6624.
            E-mail: [9] Website:
         1. B'nai Noach Study Group [E-mail: [11]].
         1. Chavurath B'nai Noach of Massachusetts [30 North Hadley Road,
            Amherst, Massachusetts 01002. E-mail:
         1. B'nai Noach Study Group [E-mail:
     * NEW YORK
         1. Root & Branch Association [860 Grand Concourse, Bronx, New
            York 10451. Phone: (718) 585-3512, Fax: (718) 993-3712.
            Email: [14]].
         1. Emmanuel Study Centre for B'nai Noah [POB 442 Athens,
            Tennessee 37371- 0442. Phone: (423) 745-0851, Fax: (423)
            744-9414. E-mail: [15] and
            [16] Website:
     * TEXAS
         1. Chavurath B'nai Noah of Fort Worth, Texas [8029 Hulen Park
            Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76123-1353. Phone: (817) 370-9126,
            Fax: (817) 292-5829. E-mail: [18]
            Website: [19]].
         2. Vendyl Jones Research Institutes [POB 120366 Arlington, Texas
            76012-0366. Phone (USA): (817) 792-3304, Fax (USA): (817)
            275-6317. Phone (Israel): (972) 2-535-7598, Fax (Israel):
            (972) 2-535-7597. E-mail: [20] Website:
         1. B'nai Noach Study Group [E-mail: [22]
   The following is a list of books pertaining specifically to B'nai
   Noach. Unless otherwise indicated, books should be available through
   major online retailers.:
    1. Benamozegh, Elijah; Luria, Maxwell (Translator). Israel and
       Humanity (Classics of Western Spirituality). Paulist Press; 1995.
       Paperback ISBN 0-809135-41-8.
       [24][Buy at Amazon:
    2. Bindman, Yirmeyahu. (The) Seven Colors of the Rainbow: Torah
       Ethics for Non-Jews. Resource Publications; 1995. Paperback. ISBN
       [25][Buy at Amazon:
    3. Clorfene, Chaim and Yaakov Rogalsky. The Path of the Righteous
       Gentile. Smithfield, MI: Targum Press, 1987
       [26][Buy at Amazon:
       ] (Special Order)
    4. Davis, J. David. Finding the God of Noah: The Spiritual Journey of
       a Baptist Minister from Christianity to the Laws of Noah. Ktav
       Publishing House; 1996. Hardcover ISBN 0-881255-35-1.
       [27][Buy at Amazon:
    5. Friedman, Manis. Doesn't Anyone Blush Anymore? Bais Chana Press.
       Paperback ISBN 1-578870-00-3.
       [28][Buy at Amazon:
    6. Gallin, Aryeh. The Root and Branch Noachide Guide. Root and Branch
       Association, Ltd. 504 Grand Street, #E51, New York, NY 10002-4101.
    7. Hanke, Kimberly E. Turning to Torah: The Emerging Noachide
       Movement Jason Aronson Publishing House (230 Livingston Street,
       Northvale, New Jersey 07647) and Number Seven Spectrum House
       (32-34 Gordon House Road London, NW5 1LP England). 1995. 250 pp.
       ISBN: 1-568215-00-2. [One woman's path from Christianity to
       "Messianic" Christianity, and finally to Torah since 1988. At one
       point, she considers conversion to Judaism, and then learns of the
       Noachide Covenant, through several Jewish individuals. She then
       was enlightened into the writings of J. David Davis.]
       [30][Buy at Amazon:
    8. Kaplan, Jeffrey. Radical Religion in America: Millenarian
       Movements from the Far Right to the Children of Noah. Syracuse
       Univ Pr (Trade); 1997. Paperback ISBN 0-815603-96-7.
       [31][Buy at Amazon:
    9. Lichtenstein, Aaron. The Seven Laws of Noah. The Rabbi Jacob
       Joseph School Press, New York. 1981. Website:
       [32] [The most technical
       book on Noahism. It is probably not intended to be an introduction
       to the Noahide system, but rather a detailed scholarly analysis
       for those who have been Noahides for a long time or for Jewish
       scholars of Noahism.]
   10. Madden, Ralph. Israel: The Abiding Kingdom. Available at
   11. Novak, David. (The) Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism: A
       Constructive Study of the Noahide Laws. Edwin Mellen Press; 1983.
       Hardcover ISBN 0-889467-59-5.
       [34][Buy at Amazon:
   12. Pallière, Aimé. The Unknown Sanctuary: A Pilgrimage from Rome to
       Israel. Bloch Pub Co; 1986. Paperback ISBN 0-819704-98-9.
       [35][Buy at Amazon:
   13. Schonfeld, S. Universal Bible To All Nations: Torat B'nai Noach
       (Teachings for Sons of Noah) Website:
   14. Sears, David. Compassion For Humanity In the Jewish Tradition.
       Jason Aronson; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-765799-87-1.
       [37][Buy at Amazon:
    Discussion Lists
    1. Yahoo Groups: Noachide. This is a forum where B'nai Noach and Jews
       can discuss topics specifically pertaining to issues. Noahides are
       gentiles (non-Jews) who seek to engage the entire world in
       observance of the sheva mitzvot (Seven Laws of Noah). This set of
       laws was officially recognized in legislation by the Congress and
       the President of the United States (then, George H.B. Bush).
       Moreover, they are discussed in Genesis 9 of the Bible. Visit
       [38] for more information.
    2. Yahoo Groups: B'nai Noach. The B'nai Noach List is sponsered by
       the web site. This list has been in operation for
       over 3 years as of Sept. 98. This list is a General discussion
       list for B'nai Noach the Children of Noah, Those Non Jews who have
       left their native religion and now follow only the G-d of the
       Jews, Israel and Torah. True B'nai Noach have no other gods and
       support Judaism, Israel, and Torah. They reconigze the validity of
       Torah, and the Oral Law. For more information, visit
    3. B'nai Noach Discussion Forum:
    Additional Information
   To obtain additional details on the above or to have your question(s)
   about Noahism answered, e-mail [41] with your

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